Safa Browne, MPH: Accidental SUMR Scholar
Hired six years ago to be LDI's new Coordinator of SUMR, Safa Browne has a BA degree in Journalism and Business Management from Syracuse University and a "can do" attitude that made her the perfect choice for managing the myriad daily details of SUMR. But ultimately, she became so inspired by the program she managed that she enrolled back into school at Penn to earn a masters degree in public health. She graduated this year and, when the current SUMR program ends in August, Browne moves on to a new position as a Clinical Research Assistant at the Vaccine Education Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).
"When you first come into LDI," Browne said, "you hear a lot of talk about how SUMR can change student's lives and career visions. And here I was in the middle of it and being changed even though I wasn't actually a student!"
"Every day I was hearing lectures and presentations by all these top health services research faculty experts and it opened a window into a whole field I wasn't aware of and it gave me a sense that I wanted to be part of this field in as meaningful a way as I could," Browne said. "Over the years I've been here, I've seen this same thing happen to students who came in saying all they wanted was to get into an MD program but by the end of SUMR, they were determined to pursue a research degree instead."
"One part of my job as SUMR Coordinator was to read and analyze the reviews students write about their experience here," Browne continued, "Not one SUMR student in the entire time I've spent at LDI ever said that the program had NOT been beneficial in their lives or their career planning. You almost have to experience SUMR as I did to fully understand how powerful it can be."